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Tolerant … kind of February 18, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in Academia, Christianity, Philosophy, politics.
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It is a clearly observable phenomena that when modern liberalism’s proponents cry out “tolerance” to those who oppose on cultural, sociological, economic, political, or, dare we say, even Biblical grounds, a particular policy or behavior (or policy that will lead to certain behavior), their claims are selective.  This is the legacy of all poorly crafted reasoning.

Case in point: the California student who, in an open-topic speech in class, referenced opposition to same-sex marriage in his support of California’s Proposition 8 but received not a little grief from the professor, obviously a modern liberalism proponent.  You can read the summary at Volokh or may read a PDF version of the complaint courtesy of the Alliance Defense Fund.

And this lack of tolerance is simply normal for modern liberalism ideologues.  Though we hear the words come out of their mouths or from their pens that, “We hope for a world of tolerance,” with the creation of a plethora of social programs and diversity curricula to that end, the pendulum has simply crossed the center point; tolerance is viewed as accepting this other perceived view of how things ought to be.  And once we begin to delve into the world of perception and “oughts”, we necessarily enter into the world of philosophy and ethics and, most tolerably, Christian thought. 

It was once said, though I do not have the source (it may have been from Dr. R.C. Sproul), that tolerance once meant I wouldn’t punch you in the nose when disagreeing with you.  But the terms have shifted yet again.  Simply saying “be tolerant,” can no longer mean we merely disagree civilly, as it should.  No, now it must mean a particular position (same sex marriage in the above example) is as valid as another and worthy of government tax dollars spent to defend it; this view of life, these choices are right individually and may even be right from a societal standpoint.  Claims of truth have been discarded (save for the confused proposition that there is no such thing as truth, of course). 

Reason alone will lead us along the path of Aristotle to truths but no overarching Truth.  To find such, a grand system of thought is needed in which to coordinate all complex ideas.  Some have now found this in Darwinism’s common descent of man.  Others have found it in Islam’s Mohammed.  Yet, when all are considered rationally, reasonably, with the full force of our intellects focused on finding the truth, it is Biblical Christianity alone that gives this overarching system of thought and life and which in fact is Truth itself, not only pointing the way but being that which transforms. 

R. C. Sproul, in his work Essential Truths of the Christian Faith, notes this effect of the Bible on one of theology’s most significant thinkers:

The Swiss theologian Karl Barth was asked by a student during a seminar in the United States, ‘Dr. Barth, what is the most profound thing you have ever learned in your study of theology?’ Barth thought for a moment and then replied, ‘Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.’ The students giggled at his simplistic answer, but their laughter was of a nervous sort as they slowly realized Barth was serious.

Simple but true, the greatest system of thought knowable to man are the facts and truths of Biblical Christianity.  The professor at LA City College would do well to consider this claim and uncover the truth of it for himself and for the sake of those he endeavors to teach. 

 

For further study, read Nancy Pearcey’s Total Truth

 

 

Massie Asks Pelosi, “Black Genocide Helps Economy?” January 27, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in Christianity, Economics, Philosophy, politics.
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Commentator Mychal Massie confronts Nancy Pelosi, Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives, with the logical conclusion of her ill-advised position that increased federal funding of family planning (i.e., contraceptive and abortive services) will help the economy.  Apparently, Pelosi’s left-wing antics are being emboldened, as expected, by the left-wing ideology of our 44th President.  Speaking of which, Massie has this closing thought at the end of his article:

I am sick of hearing how Obama’s ascendancy has paved the way for today’s black children to understand that they can accomplish or be anything they choose – even president. My question is: “How many of the over 13 million unborn black children that have been murdered since 1973 could have grown up to become president?” How many more potential presidents, doctors, jurists, scientists and educators will we lose?

Using Pelosi’s reasoning, Barack Hussein Obama, the 44th president of the United States, should have been aborted. His mother was abandoned by his father, she had no measurable means of income, rumors of drugs and other abuse persist to this day, and the taxpayers put him through school.

Update:

The Politico reports that Ms. Pelosi has apparently seen the light and is backpeddling.

Igor: Lessons in Virtue January 26, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in Christianity, Movies, Art, & Music, Philosophy, Relationships and Family.
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The movie, Igor, is now available on DVD, and I’m planning to pick it up at our favorite, low-cost rental kiosk, Redbox, this morning.  Focus on the Family’s Plugged-In magazine has a helpful review of this family picture and gives us a breakdown, if somewhat forensic, of the value of morality and virtue Igor tries to show in a world where “bad is good and good is bad.”  

A good discussion with the kids of how we know what is bad and evil is sure to follow (see Romans 1:19-20, “men … hold the truth in unrighteousness”, and 1 Cor. 2:14, “he is not able to [know]”), which will invariably lead to a discussion of how we have the ability to do that which is good or evil (see igor_galleryteaserRomans 7:23-25).  These questions erupt: What does God think of sin, which, in all its varied forms and grades, is evil since there is no such thing as a “good” sin?  How can we escape it (both it’s immediate effects and its future significance)?  Is there anyone or anything that is truly “good”?  If not, then why pray, why do good deeds, why even attempt to love at all? 

If sin is always with us, and if God cannot abide any sin, then our only hope, as the Scriptures declare, is to have an intermediary, someone through whom our acts of devotion are deemed acceptable to God the Father.  See the following from Romans 3:10, 21-27:

… as it is written, “None is righteous, no not one.” … But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it — the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.  Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith.

For more in-depth analysis of God’s view of sin and its effect on mankind, click here to review a list of sermons by John Piper in his detailed series on the letter of Paul to the Romans.

Obama’s Novel Definition of “Unity”? Attack Rush Limbaugh January 24, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in Philosophy, politics.
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Thinking rightly doesn’t always come easily.  Often, past influences have helped to shape a perspective that varies from an allegiance to truth.  Case in point: President Obama’s pronouncement yesterday to Republican leaders that, “You can’t just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done.” 

So, let’s attempt to puzzle this out.  The President, who claimed just a few days previous that, “On this day, we gather because we have chosen … unity of purpose over conflict and discord,” has himself now chosen conflict and discord in casting down the gauntlet, charging conservative congressional leaders to not listen to a particular radio personality.  The logic is inescapable.  President Obama says, “we are unified” in one breath and in another he redefines that “unity” to simply mean this: do what I want and we’ll all get along.  This isn’t leadership.  This isn’t presidential.  This isn’t any attempt to choose “unity … over discord.”  This is simply the game of bully politics. 

He may be the President of all of America, but that same America is made up of a healthy electorate that agrees with much that Rush Limbaugh says.  It is saddening that the President would attempt to sway others, not by the strength of his own ideology, but by attacking a free market thinker such as Rush Limbaugh or any other entertainer.  And this is a serious concern.  President Obama may have simply meant that conservative political philosophy is opposed to his own ideals and that is problematic given the time-frame in which he would like to see things accomplished, and there wouldn’t have been a peep of news about it; we know the ideologies don’t mesh.  But to say, “You can’t listen to [fill in the blank]…,” appears to mean something much more sinister.  It speaks to a mindset that belies the campaign rhetoric where good ideas from all corners were to be considered.  Apparently, the truth is that only ideas from the left corners are to be considered … conservatives need not apply.  Saddening indeed, but not entirely unexpected.

So, let’s hope that the President will drop the hype and jargon, drop the redefinition of terms to meet his agenda, and simply tell the truth.  He is a liberal intent on enacting socialism as the defining political philosophy of America.  Conservatives, in being true to their consciences, will not and cannot be unified with the President until he abandons his experiments in socialism.  And this is the way it should be.  Let the arguments from both ideologies have at it, and let the best argument win the hearts and minds of America.  But to command allegiance to an ideology by pointing a finger of contention at a single, free market thinker, is not an argument; it is an embarrassment and far removed from the argument and debate which should be necessary in our present form of government to reach majority consensus. 

The conservative consciences of elected leaders must not be demanded to abandonment.  In the poignant words of Martin Luther, “to go against conscience is neither right nor safe” for one’s heart and mind.  Let’s hope the White House understands this in the days to come and instead moves to the common understanding of “unity” in its rhetoric, a unity that can only be won by argumentation and debate, just as America’s founders intended … just as wisdom demands.

UPDATE:

Rush Limbaugh responds to President Obama’s remarks.

Eckhart Tolle’s Old Message January 23, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in Christianity, Philosophy, Religion.
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Donald S. Whitney, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biblical Spirituality, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has written a piercing review of Eckhart Tolle’s book A New Earth.  His are not easy words, by any means, but they are necessary words where many are lulled into accepting Tolle’s writings as spiritually beneficial when, in fact, Tolle’s writings are the antithesis — words detrimental to the souls of men and women.  Whitney explains why that is in a brief analysis from a conservative theological perspective.

A New Endeavor for an Old Purpose January 19, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in Business, Christianity, Law, Movies, Art, & Music, Philosophy, politics, Relationships and Family, Religion, science.
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Two Kingdoms.  The phrase may spark memories of history lessons and midieval empires or perhaps  images of the Sphinx Stele of Amenhotep II and the New Kingdom’s conquoring of all enemies.  For others, this phrase, “two kingdoms,” has an entirely different meaning.

In the Christian faith, throughout the Scriptures we find reference to kingdoms.  We find kingdoms of men noted repeatedly, but we also find discussion of another kingdom, a spiritual kingdom, God’s kingdom.  It intimates along lines of his rule and authority in the heavenly realms; yet, it also concerns his soverignty, his control absolute over the affairs of men and the kingdoms of men.  This is the biblical rule.

In his work, Church History in Plain Language, Bruce Shelley expands on this:

In the third century Christianity was no longer a minor Jewish sect. It was fast emerging as the dominant rival to the old ways of Rome. Men of culture and power were asking the big questions. What is Christianity’s role in the affairs of men and empires?

The church always stands in a dual relationship to human affairs. Jesus summarized the role best when he spoke of his diciples — “not of the world” but “sent into the world” (John 17:16, 18). This suggest taht in God’s plan the church feels the rythm of detachment and involvement: detachment because of the gospel and eternal life are not from but from God; yet involvement because God sends the church into the world to shine as light and to lead men to the truth.

Thus, the church moves through history to a special beat: separation from the world yet penetration of the world…

Thus, we have a glimpse of the two kingdoms this blog will address.  I will endeavor to speak to matters both related to this realm, the kingdom of men (including philosophy, relationships, politics, business, science, ethics, law, medicine, and art), and the other, the kingdom of God, which, as noted, touches every corner of the kingdom of men as well.  The purpose is old: I do it solely for God’s glory.  I do not seek attention, save in the expansion of knowledge of these kingdoms and in the general search for truth. It is my prayer and ultimate hope that some will find comfort in these pages, illumination, and better knowledge of the faith of the Christians, rooted in the redemptive cross-work and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the “author and finisher of our faith.” (see Hebrews 12:2).